Parks, Reserves, and Natural Science Resources

The geography of Southern California is conducive to research in the natural sciences. This diverse region is a natural laboratory supported by numerous UCLA resources for study.

Biological Collections

The Biological Collections of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department include marine fishes from the Eastern Pacific and Gulf of California; and birds and mammals primarily from the Western U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Central America. The department also maintains a more limited collection of amphibians, reptiles, and fossil vertebrates.

Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine

The Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine is responsible for the procurement, husbandry, and general welfare of animals required for teaching and investigative services. It also administers the campus veterinary medical and husbandry programs.

Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden

The Mathias Botanical Garden is a living museum with one of the most important botanical collections in the U.S. With specimens from all over the world, the seven-acre expanse on south campus is home to over 3,000 types of plants in a wide range of environments. The botanical garden also has a research herbarium containing 180,000 dried plant specimens. School and community group tours are available, as are individual guided tours.

Stunt Ranch Santa Monica Mountains Reserve

The University of California founded the UC Natural Reserve System (NRS) in 1965 to preserve undisturbed natural areas representing the state’s vast ecological diversity for students, teachers, and researchers from public and private educational institutions to use as outdoor classrooms and living laboratories. The Stunt Ranch Santa Monica Mountains Reserve, administered by the Los Angeles campus, officially joined the UC NRS in November 1995. The 310-acre site is a 40-minute drive from UCLA and includes fine examples of chaparral and oak woodland ecosystems. The reserve lends itself to programs that focus on the natural ecosystems and issues of resource management in the urban/wildland interface. Undergraduate and graduate courses in the departments of Anthropology; Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Geography; Physics and Astronomy; and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability utilize Stunt Ranch and other NRS sites.